With its recent licensing deal with Xiaomi in the wearables category and the Myntra buyout, Hrithik Roshan-backed fashion label HRX seems to be making strong in-roads in diverse segments. The brand is eyeing a whopping Rs 500 crore turnover by 2020 and plans to explore new categories to further expand its footprint.
On the same, exchange4media chatted with Afsar Zaidi, Co-Founder & CEO, HRX, who is also the Managing Director of Exceed Entertainment, a multi-platform entertainment management company. "With the addition of the new categories planned, the target will easily be double of our GMV today," says an optimistic Zaidi and let us in on his visions, game plan for HRX to achieve their turnover goal and big plans for Exceed.
How was 2017 for HRX and Exceed?
For Exceed, it was a great year where we consolidated our businesses, revamped the management team and laid the foundation for the next three years. The new additions to the agency business were the digital activation planning for brands, game plan for content creators for various mediums (films, TV, digital, web) in long and short formats. The writers and directors' new division was established to manage YouTubers and talent beyond the space of film stars. Plus,the team was strengthened for licensing, merchandising, brands creation and new leadership roles were defined for various verticals.
With regards to HRX, it was a year of growth; the best since inception and it's ready to propel itself in a space that has never been occupied by any Indian brand. Quality growth in our footwear segment led the whole surge in HRX connecting with its consumers.
What are your plans and focus areas for Exceed in 2018?
As a talent management agency, the core of our business stems from the fact that every artist needs to be looked upon as an incorporation. There are companies of all kinds - Blue Chip, MNCs, SMEs, startups etc. The objectives are very clear: solid business model and profitability. The approach has evolved over the years and has proven beneficial with the artists we have managed over time, be it Hrithik, Ajay, Saif, Sonakshi, Priyanka, Kajol, Bipasha, Shilpa, Malaika, Dia Mirza, Amit Sadh and many more. Geographical expansion is a given in this calendar year with physical presence in the North and South.
We are planning new business extensions with a few key artists in the space of fitness, fashion, data analytics, grooming, web and digital content, e-gaming, new technology, setting up of content producing vehicles and more. These are going to be revenue shared models, equity based structures and MG driven financial modules.
With respect to HRX, how important are offline stores for the business?
Offline is very much a part of the strategy and the natural progression for a brand of HRX's calibre. The process of identification of the right retail partners for MBOs and availability of the right locations for EBOs has begun. We are working on the same and the plan should see fruition soon. The target seems to be the festive season of 2018.
Are you looking to be available at online platforms other than Myntra as well?
Through Myntra, Jabong and Flipkart we have access to 70 per cent of India's youth and fashion conscious market. So much so, that HRX is the fourth largest brand in the sports wear category on Myntra now. This is a great motivation and good enough reason to not look out.
What are the upcoming marketing and advertising activities planned for HRX?
We are building a strong association with the running community by partnering with the marathon franchises in our country. HRX provides a live experience through pop-ups at these marathon expos, and it helps in extending the live HRX experience to a captive audience that is willing to engage. Our influencer program is undoubtedly the most organic today. Thoughtful customization, a great in hand experience and a good outreach gets us responses, which unlike others, are unpaid and most genuine.
What is the sales mark you aim to achieve in 2018 with HRX and what is your game plan for the same? Any exclusive partnerships in the pipeline?
The sales plan is to close at Rs. 150 crore of GMV on Myntra alone. HRX in 2018 will have some very significant announcements within the existing relationships. Myntra and HRX will showcase a new category of products in the second and third quarter of the year. CureFit, Cult and HRX get strengthened with a larger presence in the country, with new initiatives in the food, health and wellness industry. A major content creation initiative is being planned by HRX.
Like I said, with the addition of new categories, we intend to gross Rs. 500 crore in the next two years. Partnerships in the pipeline include, one with a fashion platform, the biggest name in the fitness industry, exclusivity with a content partner based out of US and an e-gaming initiative. Exciting times ahead!
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